A Greek student appeared in a Las Vegas court on Wednesday accused of stealing up to $500,000 in bitcoin from a novice cryptocurrency trader in Las Vegas.
Filippos Liakounakos, 23, a Miami college student, researched the backgrounds of multimillionaires in Southern Nevada and then targeted one for the theft while assuming another’s identity to carry out the fraud, according to the prosecutor.
A “sophisticated” bitcoin scam
“This is a very sophisticated, organized, and thought out theft that we have here,” said Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jim Sweetin during an initial appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court.
Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Liakounakos was booked at the Clark County Detention Center on Monday on charges of theft for more than $100,000 using another person’s identity to cause a financial loss and unlawful felony act involving electronic mail or transmission of computer data.
Las Vegas police secured a warrant for the arrest of Liakounakos in February after a detective said the victim in the case, whose name has not been released, reported the theft in November 2020.
The man said he was approached by a business associate he knew on the encrypted mobile chat app Telegram, and that the two agreed to a bitcoin transaction.
Police said after the man sent the business associate $500,000 in bitcoin, he learned that the person he sent the money to was actually an imposter, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.
Defense attorney Josh Tomsheck said in court Wednesday that Liakounakos has no criminal history and strong family support. Liakounakos identified himself as a college student who is on the verge of graduating from a Miami-area university.
Sweetin asked for Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum to set bail at $250,000, noting police are still investigating if Liakounakos could be involved in any similar transactions, the American newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, says.